It looks like Google Drive will no longer offer an alternative way to browse your Google Photos library from July, according to changes to the latest APK noted by Android Police.

What’s this, you ask? Photos? There’s an app for that already, you tell me gently. (I appreciate such gentle conduct, by the way)

As amazing as it may seem, there was a time that Google Photos didn’t exist. During this dark time, a beast known as Google+ offered a simple hassle-free backup solution for all of the photos on your device.

Rather than making the photos public (as you might expect from Google+ being as it were a social network), the photos appeared in Google Drive where users could browse then and make sure their backups were working.

As Google+ went away, Google took its photo backup and starting functionality and crafted it into what we now know as the very very excellent Google Photos. The old Drive connectivity remained, but the logo was changed to that of the new Photos service. Google’s even given users the option to turn it off.

And so, we’re now caught up – just in time to see it all go away.

Android Police discovered two pretty telling strings in the recent Drive APK:

Starting in July, your Google Photos library will no longer sync to Google Drive. All your files are safe in Google Photos.

Your Google Photos folder is no longer syncing with Google Photos. Your photos are all safe in Google Photos.

It looks like the writing’s on the wall – your Google Photos will no longer be accessible from Google Drive come July.

I’m not going to miss it. I’ve had the feature turned off since Google Photos launched. I can’t think of a point at which I’ve needed it.

I don’t mean to mock – well, maybe I do a little. Your shouldn’t need the Drive integration any more.

Google Photos offers much better search with object and facial recognition to make finding specific photos simple. There’s apps for Android and iOS and a really good web interface for the service.

There are going to be some people who are legitimately using this feature who’ll be up in arms about it though – maybe it’s part of a workflow, maybe something else, and it’s going to suck for them to have to change – but you’d have to expect that Google’s done their research, found how many people have the option switched off, and decided we’ve reached a tipping point.

There’s been no official announcement of the change, but with July bearing down on us almost as quickly as June we’d expect some kind of announcement to come pretty soon.

Source: Android Police.
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Before discovering the Nexus One, Jason thought he didn't need a smartphone. Now he can't bear to be without his Android phone. Jason hails from Sydney, Melbourne or Brisbane depending on his mood and how detailed a history you'd like. A web developer by day with an interest in consumer gadgets and electronics, he also enjoys reading comics and has a worryingly large collection of Transformers figures. He'd like to think he's a gamer, but his Wii has been in a box since he moved to Sydney, and his PlayStation Vita collection is quite lacking. Most mornings you'll find him tilting at various windmills on Twitter - follow @JM77 and say hi!
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This justifies my decision to always buy phones with sdcards and NEVER rely on a “cloud”!


I just used it to Upload a Video to YouTube. It wouldn’t work directly from Google Photos to YouTube without Downloading the file. But on a Chromebook with only 16GB of memory what other options are there?


I use this to back up to my Nas also


Not sure about this backstory for Google photos. I used a Picasa (when it was already owned by Google), and it transitioned directly into Google Photos as Picasa got phased out… and I also used Google+ . Yes, Google Photos has evolved along side g+, and was tied in, but I’ve always used Google Photos as Google Photos, not Google+’s photo album.
Drive has an option to allow access to my Google Photos from within Drive; are you saying this is what’s going away?

Own Your Mark

Clearly this is a commercial decision by Google to make you reliant on their platform, rather than having any backups of your own.

Julian Cooper

Jason, some sentences seriously need to be re written.


Hmmmm, you say ‘not many people using it’. Hmmmm “Google images can do same thing”…

Hmmmm I suppose if I want to put all my personal/private/family photos out there for the world to see, then yes images can do the same job.

PS: could the first “telling line” actually mean that the “photos”service will still run, but you won’t have automatic sync to local drives (and not a complete shutdown of service)?


I’m another one of the five (hundred thousand?). This functionality has been half broken for years already. But it’s a bummer.

I feel a bit like when greaser got killed.

Chris Johnson

I also use Google drive why get rid of it?

Angus Gibbins

This sucks. I was hoping they’d enable this feature for G Suite accounts (doesn’t work even with Google Backup and Sync.

How I used to use this (when it did work for G Suite accounts) was I’m a photographer that doesn’t use LightRoom, exporting to Google Drive with this option enabled was the easiest way to get my final images from my computer into Google Photos for social media sharing and the like.


Well I guess I’m a 6th… This is going to make it really hard to make offline back ups of my photos.


+1 for using NAS to backup… Now how do we do it? Thanks Google!


I use this functionality every single day.


Well I think we have found the five people using it 🙂


Err I use it often. Glad to be part of the 5 I guess.


This sucks. Now how am I meant to keep an auto back-up of my photos on my NAS?


Ausdroid, always insulting its users… Well done..

Oliver Kellow

Nooooooo i browse all my photos from drive

Philip Clark

As others have said, “for the five people using it” shows you don’t understand the impact of this change. How is anyone meant to access their photos library on a PC for quick upload through facebook web, or to open in an editing application? Yes, a lot of us still use PCs. If we didn’t Ausdroid articles probably wouldn’t get any comments as the commenting functionality here is so buggy on mobile. I’ve spent the last several months getting my 60 year old mum sorted with Google Photos, Google Drive and a simple process for her to post photos she… Read more »


I am one of the 5 that will really miss this. Google Drive gives you high-quality photo unlimited storage and as a free customer you get 15Gb for everything else, while you get 5Gb for Onedrive for everything. So at the moment Onedrive is not an option, for me. Everything use the Google Feedback options, maybe if they get enough they will bring back an automatic download option, like Google Photos folder was

Andrew Reilly

I’m not going to enjoy this change, I think. I also use the Photos/Drive link to import my phone photos into my LightRoom repository, which lives on the household file server (there’s no way all of my photos fit on the standard-size Google Drive). The Photos app does not currently seem to have any way to download photos at all. So getting photos off the phone might involve going back to USB cables and the awful Android File Transfer app. Urgh. Open to other suggestions…

Shahil Prasad

can I ask out of curiosity why you take all your photos into Lightroom? Is that your be all end all photo repository?

Edit. Scratch that. That’s what you meant about all your photos not fitting gdrive


This affects way more people than you are making out. Many folks sync their google photos to NAS drives or other systems, and this is done through sync apps to google drive.

I for one backup my google photos to my Synology NAS, as this way i have permanent offline copies of any photos that are generated by google photos (collages, HDR images, images shared with me etc) that i would not be able to simply copy off my phone.